The United States Postal Service (USPS) has suffered a breach. The news comes after a statement was made on Monday, Nov. 10 by the Postal Service. Almost three million postal customers may be affected by the breach and about 750,000 employees. In addition, those who have retired may have had their personal information compromised, including social security numbers and birth dates.
According to Evan Perez of CNN, the U.S. Postal Service has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning the breach. Other agencies have been reportedly been investigating the matter as well. Customer data which may have been breached reportedly includes name, address, email address, and phone number information.
The FBI also issued a statement which revealed the agency is currently conducting an investigation. Even so, customers should monitor their own personal information, the agency cautioned. If any signs of identify theft appear to be present, the FBI has advised people to visit the Internet Crime Complaint unit online at www.ic3.gov. Postal Service employees are also reportedly being contacted with regards to available credit monitoring.
Patrick Donahue, the USPS Postmaster General, indicated investigations so far conclude “no evidence of malicious use of the compromised data.” A spokesman also reportedly stated that the hackers do not appear to be interested in credit card fraud or identity theft. FOX News reported the hackers may be affiliated with the Chinese government.
FOX News reported the Associated Press announced postal customers who use local offices or the USPS website should not be affected. Information that was breached may have actually come from data used by postal service call centers. The data may have been received by the USPS between Jan. 1 to Aug. 16 of 2014.
Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reported the breach may have taken place in mid-September and is believed to have originated from China. Nakashima stated the Chinese government, though, has reportedly denied any involvement in any cyber crime – including theft – and that it is against their law.
The news comes as U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly starts an Asian-Pacific tour. He was reported to have started his tour in Beijing, China on Monday with scheduled meetings to take place with President Xi Jinping. It is unclear if matters on the breach will be addressed.
Donahue had announced that the breach was taken seriously and that stronger security measures were implemented. The news comes after Home Depot and Target, two U.S. national corporations, also faced similar attacks in regards to information from over 50 million customers which was reportedly compromised from recent times.
Chris Smith of BGR Media, an online news and commentary website on technology, reported Home Depot blamed a Microsoft Windows program for their breach. Smith stated about 56 million credit card users and 53 million emails were compromised at the time. An investigation reportedly found a weakness in a Windows program which had allowed hackers to reach high-level areas and sell credit card information on black markets. Home Depot executives also reportedly switched over to Apple products soon after.
The U.S. Postal Service has suffered a breach and millions of customers may have been affected. FOX News reported possible operatives affiliated with the Chinese government are suspected of contributing to the breach, but there is no confirmation or information provided by the FBI or neighboring agencies clarifying this information. In fact, CNN reported investigations are still ongoing.
By Liz Pimentel